Giomann, I’m Back In Nigeria To Connect With My People

Gloria Ziregbe a.k.a. Giomanni plays the piano and her genre of music is a mix of Hip Hop and R&B. The versatile musician’s love for music started from an early age when she was a member of choir in her church. She used to compose Christmas carols and songs for end-of-year parties in school. With her debut album “Get Loud” set to drop in November, Giomanni, a one-time winner of Miss Tourism Nigeria, spoke to SOLOMON NDA-ISAIAH on her career and the journey so far.

What was it like being Miss Tourism Nigeria?
Being Miss Tourism Nigeria was heaven. It was actually the greatest thing that could ever happen to me at that time. It was wonderful. I had the opportunity to meet different people from different walks of life. I think it was a stepping stone for me. It gave me the foundation to step up to and proceed with what I wanted to do.

What were your major preoccupations as Miss Tourism Nigeria?
We had a sickle cell project. We liaised with hospitals and got funding from the government. We helped a lot of people get treatment they couldn’t afford. So I did what I could as Miss Tourism-I couldn’t save the world but I did what I could.

What have you been involved with since winning the Miss Tourism crown?
Well I’ve been involved with my life(laughs). My music basically has taken most of my time. Actually I went ahead to do a course in Architecture, but for now, my music is taking all my time. I love architecture and it’s something I will still go back to. I love drawing because I love to see something you envision come to life. My love for music however, supersedes my love for architecture.

How did you get inspired to go into music professionally?
Growing up, I was in love with rap music. I think it’s my love of music that inspired me to want to write my own songs. I just love music so much that no matter how bad my day was going, no matter how sad I felt, once I hear Tupac or Biggie on the radio, my day is good. I just start nodding my head to the beat and feel good.  So my inspiration came from the love of music, nothing more.

Do you have any mentor in the industry?
Yes, I do actually. I really like Fela. He was so good; he was a worldwide entertainer. I think there can be only one Fela in the industry. He is actually my mentor; I wish he was alive.

Did you do any afro beat track in your album?
I wish I did but unfortunately, I cannot sing like Fela. I’ve tried to do it several times, but I haven’t got a producer who can actually make it sound exactly how I want it to sound, but I hope I get to do that to honour him in future.

How many albums do you have in the market?
I’m yet to release my album but I have a single out - Money Honey and I’m actually about to drop another single No Love - it’s a Jamaican song in which I featured a Jamaican rapper. It’s a very versatile song.

When should we expect to see an album from you?
The album is ready. It’s titled Get Loud. What we are working on right now is basically promotion. My album should drop at the end of November. We are just waiting to see how things go before then. There are 21 tracks on the album. You’ll hear R&B, Hip Hop, etc. it’s really a versatile album expect to be taken to the next level.

You have been away from the country for some time, where did you go?
Yea. I was away for about a year and six months in America. Before then I’d shuttled between both countries. Whilst I was away I was working on my music career and other things. I finished working on my album over there in America.

Now that you are back in Nigeria, what are your plans?
Well my plan is to take Nigeria by storm (laughter). Just kidding! Well, my plan is actually to get people to know me better, to connect to them and promote my music; to get people to know the real Giomanni, through my music.

What have been the greatest challenges so far concerning your music?
I haven’t met a challenge yet but I think I’m yet to see how Africans and the whole world is going to receive me. For now, I’ve yet to see any huge challenge other than waking up in the middle of the night to write a song, staying all night in the studio.

Have your parents been supportive of your music career?
My dad is late, but if my dad was alive he’d be so proud of me. He’ll be very proud of me because he was actually a musician too. He was a great musician but he didn’t put himself out there for the public. He used to play the piano too. He was in a Jazz band but he never released an album. My mum is still alive and she’s very supportive. She’s happy I’m doing this-it’s my dream. I think it’s the joy of every mother to see her child achieve and be true to their dreams.

The Nigerian music industry is saturated with new artistes debuting regularly. What new innovation do you think you have that would make you stand out?
My music is very versatile and very different from what most artistes here are actually doing. I’m not saying I’m better than them, I’m not saying they are better than me. I’m just saying we are different when it comes to music and we are different in our own special ways. What I’m bringing to the industry is something new actually, like MI. When he came in and I heard his rap I was bowed over. It was new and different but we all received MI with open arms and he is actually great and I hope the people would receive me the same way.

Most musicians complain of piracy and for you to go places you must find a way to combat piracy for it not to affect your work. What record label are you using and what are you doing to avoid your work being pirated?
I’m actually building my own team and very soon, I am going to have my own label in Nigeria. Concerning piracy, there is nothing that can be done right now. If the truth must be told, most Nigerian artistes are not making their money from CD sales. They are making their money from endorsements, shows, advertisements and so on. I hope the government does something soon to curb piracy.

What is your general opinion about the Nigerian music industry?
I think the artistes in the Nigerian music industry are the most talented ever. The Nigerian music industry should be number one in the world right now, unfortunately it’s not.  I think the Nigerian music industry has done so well that I’m proud to say I am a Nigerian.

What is your most memorable moment?
It was when I was in secondary school and I was actually going to get an award that day for the best student in Physics and my dad actually was away. He was ill and was in London and I kept calling saying “Daddy, you have to come for my school’s end of year party.” He said he couldn’t make it, he had a stroke. I was called to collect an award and who was standing there? My dad! It was a special moment and I don’t think I can ever forget that.

It felt like I had never seen him all my life. I think that was the most memorable moment ever-may be my wedding will take over and be the most memorable(laughs). For now, it’s that day I saw my father’s face gleaming with joy and pride. After then I never saw him again, so it’s something I would forever cherish and honour.
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